UK ministers boycott early rounds of Euro 2012

The foreign office announces decision following the example set by Germany and France, whose senior politicians will also be absent from games played in the Ukraine
UK ministers are boycotting the early rounds of Euro 2012 due to concerns about human rights.

Despite firmly placing their support behind the England team, it has been decided that no ministers will travel to the Ukraine amid anger over the treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

Politicians from Germany and France have also made the decision to boycott games played in Ukraine unless the human rights situation improves in the country.

A statement released by foreign secretary William's Hague's department reads: "The Government fully supports England's participation in Euro 2012.

"We hope this is a successful tournament for the England team, the fans and the people of Ukraine and Poland.

"No ministers will be attending group games at Euro 2012.

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"We are keeping attendance at later stages of the tournament under review in the light of ministers' busy schedules ahead of the Olympics and widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine."

Those concerns centre on the treatment of Yulia Tymoshenko who was jailed for seven years in 2011, in what her supporters claim was a show trial.

The former prime minister staged a hunger strike in April after photos appeared showing bruises on her body. She has accused prison guards of assaulting her.